About Biobanks

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What is a biobank?

A biobank  is a type of bio repository that collects, stores and distributes various types of  biological material (plant, animal or more commonly Human) which are stored along with data related to its collection, processing and origin. Biobanks of human samples can contain specimens such as tissue, blood, urine and effusions etc, and can be stored for 20 years or more.

Biobanks of human samples are often also linked to information about the tissue donor. This can include diagnostic, Clinical, follow up and health economics data etc . This associated information is stored in a electronic database’s.

Often secondary biospecimens are derived from the original biospecimen to further enhance their value. Such products may include genetic material, blood products (plasma, Red blood cells, white blood cells etc), Tissue Microarrays, Digitised images of diagnostic slides etc.

 

Why do biobanks exist?

A biobank is a vital resource utilised by the research community. It gives researchers access to samples and data, far larger than that that could be attained historically. It gives multiple researchers access to the same sample for multiple purposes, which is of particular use in gaining insight into the various diseases that can be associated with the one genetic condition?

It may be established and developed for many reasons. Some Biobanks are set up for medical research to accelerate insight and advances into areas such as disease early detection, treatment (ie personalized medicine), cause and cures. Others are set up for pure scientific research with vision to gain insight into things such as forensic investigation, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity)